"Time is money" or "Time is something to hold close" . . . You decide"


The Beloved Dearly by Doug Cooney is a heartwarming tale that deals with the loss of loved ones in an industrious manner. Set in what sounds to me like an Italian neighborhood in New York, Ernie Castellano, future entrepreneur, is in trouble again, this time for selling cheeseburgers at school. His father Red is fed-up with his schemes, some of which in the past have included used homework, skateboard rentals, and my personal favorite, booger insurance. Where was he when the wimpy kid was having trouble?

Ernie’s mother has recently died from cancer, and his father works all the time; a fact that may have something to do with Ernie’s business obsession. When Ernie meets the Cat Lady, a lonely hermit of a young woman with over 100 cats, his brain can’t help itself: he immediately thinks of another great business idea—even though his father has promised to ground him if he starts up another business.

What ensues is a touching tale of genuine friendship coupled with the realistic issues regarding self-centeredness vs. selflessness, compromise vs. stubbornness, and how working towards a central goal that benefits everyone creates lasting human bonds. Cooney displays a clever kid's voice packed with just enough humor to keep your child -- or the child within you -- engaged.  I recommend this read to children in the third to fifth grades.

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